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NCJ Number: 222298 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Investigative Analysis of Neonaticide: An Exploratory Study
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior  Volume:35  Issue:4  Dated:April 2008  Pages:522-535
Author(s): Kristen Beyer; Shannon McAuliffe Mack; Joy Lynn Shelton
Date Published: April 2008
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study highlighted four major challenges that law enforcement faces when investigating neonaticides.
Abstract: The findings identified four main challenges associated with neonaticide: their variation in offender characteristics and situational factors, intermittent denial of the pregnancy, the physical resiliency of the offenders, and lack of documented mental health criminal history. Neonaticide offenders are typically young, unmarried women who lack resources. However, further examination of the data revealed that women in their 30s and 40s also committed this type of crime as well as women who were married. The majority of offenders fell within middle to upper socioeconomic status and had resources available that they did not use (transportation, health care, abortion costs). Offenders may also have had the support network consisting of family and friends who had suspected that they were pregnant and had offered assistance. Many of the offenders were school-aged and had been offered assistance by teachers or peers, or had access to the services of the school or university available. The overwhelming majority of women experienced stress caused by hiding the pregnancy prior to the offense. Fear seemed to be a pronounced factor in the motivation of neonaticide and was associated with the shame and guilt of having a child out of wedlock. The second most common stressor was the offender's concern about her parents' reaction to the pregnancy; neonaticidal mothers often completely deny their pregnancy to the extent that they are not aware or do not acknowledge that they are pregnant. Investigators should not assume that neonaticidal offenders require some curative recovery when considering potential suspects since women murder the neonate, dispose of the body, clean up the crime scene, and remain undetected by others in close physical proximity. Although offenders did not have diagnosed psychiatric histories several exhibited bizarre behaviors. Data were collected from the examination of 40 female offenders' cases resulting in 41 infant deaths. References, appendix
Main Term(s): Criminal abortion; Homicide investigations; Infanticide; Pregnant offenders
Index Term(s): Child victims; Female murderers; Pregnant women; Social classes
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